History of California

Can you guess these facts about the history of the U.S. state of California?
Quiz by Quizmaster
Last updated: March 15, 2024
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First submittedMay 24, 2017
Times taken16,255
Average score70.0%
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Country which controlled California from 1821–1848
Baseball team which moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958
"Inescapable" island prison which housed notorious inmates such as
Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly
Type of natural disaster which struck San Francisco in 1906
Theme park opened in Anaheim in 1955
Foreign-born celebrity who became governor in 2003
Arnold Schwarzenegger
What was discovered at Sutter's Mill in 1848
Party of California-bound pioneers who resorted to cannibalism while
stuck in the Sierra Nevada mountains
Donner Party
Term for the Spanish outposts built to convert Native Americans to Christianity
Victim of a notorious police beating in Los Angeles in 1991
Rodney King
Company started by two guys named Steve in a Los Altos garage in 1976
Apple Computer
Environmental organization was founded by John Muir in 1892
The Sierra Club
Congressperson who was the first woman to serve as U.S. Speaker of the House
Nancy Pelosi
Industry which moved to Los Angeles in order to escape the enforcement
of Thomas Edison's patents
Film Industry
Railroad, completed in 1869, which connected San Francisco with the eastern U.S.
Transcontinental Railroad
Psychedelic jam band co-founded by Jerry Garcia in 1965
The Grateful Dead
The first openly-gay man to win political office in California
(Hint: the subject of a Sean Penn movie)
Harvey Milk
"Yellow Journalism" tycoon who built a castle near San Simeon
William Randolph Hearst
Literary movement epitomized by Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac
Beat Generation
John Steinbeck book about poor Oklahoma migrant workers who came to California
The Grapes of Wrath
Level 85
May 24, 2017 gives a slightly different take on the film industry's move to California.
Level 87
May 24, 2017
According to Wikipedia, the Union Pacific and the Central Pacific joined to become the "First Transcontinental Railroad", sometimes called the "Pacific Railroad" or the "Overland Route". You don't accept any of these, when you should probably accept all of them.
Level 66
Nov 12, 2017
Agreed! I thought Central Pacific should be correct since it was the section that originated in California. (Attn. kindred nitpickers: I know that the "answer bar" indicates that only one word is sought, but still!)
Level 75
Nov 12, 2017
Agreed. My first thought was Union Pacific, even though I saw the answer was only one word. Took me awhile to come up with Transcontinental.
Level 65
Nov 12, 2017
First guess was Western Pacific, but what do I know.
Level 75
Nov 14, 2017
I tried Union Pacific and Pacific first, but the only long word I could think of was the right one.
Level ∞
Mar 15, 2024
Pacific and Union Pacific will work now
Level 78
May 25, 2017
So recently I learned that the Donner party resorting to cannibalism may have actually been a myth. I listen to the really interesting podcast "Memory Palace," a series of short, lesser known, true stories in my spare time. Episode 46, titled "After Party" dives into the actual history of that now famous story. It's a story of lies, deceit, fulfilling a dying woman's final wishes, and robbery. But NOT of cannibalism. I suggest you give it a listen.
Level 84
Sep 5, 2017
To be sure, not ALL of the party resorted to cannibalism.
Level 37
Apr 13, 2018
No, some of them froze to death going to seek help (or running away, take your pick).
Level 82
Nov 12, 2017
I'm bringing some Eric Roberts home in a doggy bag. Does anyone else want some?
Level 76
May 31, 2017
What I remember most about Grapes of Wrath, a fantastic and deeply moving book we studied in High School, is from much later on. It's of an early clumsy computer translation, where it translated the title into Japanese as Angry Grapes.
Level 84
Sep 5, 2017
Sounds like the next time-wasting app craze.
Level 83
Mar 19, 2018
All Your Grapes Are Belong To Us.
Level 67
Nov 12, 2017
Kerouac was from Massachusetts, Ginsberg was from New Jersey and the two met in New York City. Kerouac wrote "On the Road" in New York City and lived most of his life in NY and Florida. Not much of a California connection there.

Ginsberg, on the other hand, moved to San Francisco, where he wrote "Howl." If I were to rephrase the clue I'd say something like "Allen Ginsberg saw the best minds of this generation destroyed by madness; Lawrence Ferlinghetti belonged to it too."

Level 85
Nov 12, 2017
I don't think it's correct to say that Mexico controlled California after the Capitulation of Cahuenga in January 1847.
Level 37
Nov 12, 2017
Who controlled it after that? - It wasn't ceded to the US until 1848. So perhaps it was in limbo for a year?
Level 82
Apr 19, 2024
It wasn't officially ceded to the US until 1848, but in practice, it was under control of US forces for about a year (or more depending on what part of the territory) prior to that.

De jure it was Mexican until February 1848, and American thereafter.

De facto it was Mexican until January 1847, and American thereafter.

I assume @cpgatbyu's contention is over the word "controlled," which speaks more to the second reading than the first.

Level 44
Nov 12, 2017
I wonder if the Donner Party had any Donner kebabs
Level 66
Nov 13, 2017
& Dunkin' Donners
Level 62
Nov 15, 2017
2:48 left. I did grow up in CA, so maybe an unfair advantage.
Level 92
Mar 27, 2018
Quiz reminded me of a favorite joke: If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does the Sierra Club still get mad?
Level 71
Oct 6, 2018
Native californian and scored below the average... i am a disgrace
Level 65
Nov 29, 2019
Santa Barbara Mission
Level 52
Dec 16, 2022
figured Disney would be acceptable alternative for Disneyland
Level ∞
Mar 15, 2024
Nope. Disney World is in Florida.